Generally speaking, people want their material assets to remain in the family and passed down to a surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren. What may surprise you is just how often this doesn’t happen. Indeed, assets are sometimes lost over time, due to a wide variety of factors—but this fate can be avoided with the right estate planning strategies.
In this post, we’ll cover some of those strategies, and reveal some estate planning basics that can safeguard your family’s legacy.
Before we proceed, it’s important to clear up one common misconception about the estate planning process—and that’s the misconception that estate planning is just something the wealthy do.
Actually, estate planning covers a wide range of intangible, non-financial topics, such as end-of-life medical decisions. While this particular blog post is mostly going to cover material concerns, including estate tax planning strategies, we want to make clear that everyone has reason to create an estate plan, even those who do not believe themselves to be wealthy.
What can you do to ensure that your assets are kept in the family after you die?
You might assume that this is simply the default, and that your assets will naturally go to family members if you die without an estate plan in place—but that’s not the case. In fact, without some attention to estate planning basics, your assets may be lost to the state.
That’s why we recommend writing a will, which will provide a detailed outline of how you want your assets to be handled. A good will can protect against assets being taken over by the court, too. (Also make sure you speak with your lawyer about keeping your will up to date!)
Writing your will is an important first step, but it’s not the final step! We also recommend putting a trust in place.
Trusts are best established alongside wills if the assets are sizeable, as trusts can directly deal with larger tax dues without going overboard.
The question is, what type of trust is best as you consider estate tax planning strategies? That depends on a number of factors, including the size of your estate. Reach out to your estate planning lawyer to talk through some specifics of dynasty trusts and other options.
Something else we recommend is opening an individual retirement savings account—specifically a Roth IRA.
The reason for this is simple: Transferring assets to non-spouses can incur large taxes, even if they are covered by IRA protection. Roth accounts can provide you with some wiggle-room, and some smart ways to transfer assets.
Finally, talk with your estate planning lawyer about estate gifting strategies.
Asset gifting is a recommended method of transferring assets to beneficiaries while paying fewer taxes. While it is viable after death, it can be done gradually in life so that fewer to no taxes are incurred, while the assets are still in the family’s possession through gifts to relatives or to children.
Through the right estate planning strategy, you can keep your assets secure—and remove the risk of any of them leaving your family. To adopt the right approach, we recommend speaking with an estate planning attorney.
At Singh Law Firm, we specialize in helping our clients preserve their financial legacies through savvy estate tax planning. We provide services in trust administration, as well. To learn more about keeping assets in the family, we invite you to contact Singh Law firm today.